Boston Bruins

Notes: Seguin still trying to prove himself

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Notes: Seguin still trying to prove himself

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK Tyler Seguin finished with no power-play minutes for the first time in several weeks, and managed just a sliver over eight minutes of ice time in Bostons 5-3 loss to the Rangers Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

Seguin has been very active on the power play and patient with the puck when its on his stick, but he needs to keep moving, flinging the stick and carving out a role for himself on a good playoff team.

I cant say that hes in. I cant say that hes out, said coach Claude Julien, referring to Seguin's playoff participation. Theres still some time to see him. The one thing I can tell you is that the last month or month-and-a-half hes taken some strides while feeling more confident in his game.

Its a good sign. You dont question his skill level, but hes got to have confidence he can go in the corners and come out with the puck. You dont need to see him running over guys, but you want to see him get into the corners a little bit.

Its a tough pill to swallow for Seguin as he has watched his ice time again diminish a bit after hed seemingly carved out a role for himself. But it appears this rookie season is all about proving himself to his teammates and coaching staff over and over again, and perhaps that will continue with taking a seat to start the playoffs.If one were to judge which B's forward would potentially get the seat to start things off, it might just be thatSeguin wasgiven the low 5-on-5 ice time and zero power play time in a harbinger of a healthy scratch or two to come if they match up against the Rangers. Count Julien among those who feel Tim Thomas not only should be a shoo-in for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie, but also should be strongly considered for the Hart Trophy as most valuable player.

I think hed have to be a real strong candidate for us in regard to that. More so in the way the game is played today, said Julien. Goalies seem to be focused a lot of times. We understand how important goalies are given how stingy goal-scoring is at this point.

Goaltenders make a difference in games, and just look at the starts at the end of the game.

Chris Kelly scored his first goal as a member of the Bruins. It took Kelly 21 games to get on the board, though he had several close chances over the last month.

Milan Lucic took a puck to the face during warm-ups on Monday night after a shot took an errant bounce off the post, but he was fixed up with a handful of stitches just a few minutes prior to the games start.

Lucic was on the ice for the start of the game, and picked up an assist on Nathan Hortons first-period goal.

Daniel Paille once again enjoyed a good night as things were falling apart around him for the rest of the Bruins team. He fired off four shots on net, and scored Bostons first goal when he created pressure on a breakaway. Paille scored on the same shift when he got to the front of the net and then redirected a Johnny Boychuk shot pass from the right point past Henrik Lundqvist.

Thats three goals in six games for Paille, who was one of the few Bs players that continued working hard long after his fellow forwards started slacking in the 5-3 defeat to the Rangers.

Thats where it needs to be right now, said Paille. Thats my focus right now is to keep playing hard, but wins mean a lot more to us right now.

Kirk Luedeke from New England Hockey Journal first reported that Bs prospects Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner have both signed with the Bruins and will play the final three games of the regular season with the AHLs Providence Bruins as their professional debuts. Both players just recently finished up their junior hockey careers.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

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Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

BOSTON – With all of the talk about young forward prospects Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk, it would seem that Austin Czarnik wants to serve a reminder that he can play a little hockey too.

For the second year in a row, the 24-year-old diminutive forward is putting together a strong start to his training camp with a multi-point performance in a 4-2 exhibition victory over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Czarnik finished with a penalty-shot goal, two points and tied for the team-lead with four shots on net while playing with the energy, skating aggressiveness and in-your-face attitude that he’s going to need for NHL success. He also made his point that there are more than just a couple of young forwards in camp who can potentially help in Boston this winter.

“He was very good. I think the forgotten man, maybe, he was thinking [a bit] because we’ve talked about a lot of young guys. He’s still a young guy, and wants to make his mark and push for a job on the team,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Czarnik, who posted five goals and 13 points in 49 games for the Bruins last season. “I thought he looked real good tonight. He won a lot of pucks. He’s always going to make plays in space, that’s his game. He won a lot of pucks and did a lot of little things well.”

It was Czarnik who really helped put the game away in the second period when he sped past a pair of defenders and forced them into hauling him down for a penalty shot with the B’s already up, 2-0. Czarnik patiently slowed his penalty-shot attempt before ripping one past Petr Mrazek’s glove hand in what ended up being the game-winning goal. Czarnik was in the middle of things again in the third on the insurance marker as he engineered a 3-on-1 rush before expertly feeding to Teddy Purcell for the sizzled one-timer.

Czarnik was downplaying the idea that he’s been overlooked in camp but show there was a strong need to remind the B’s organization how he can potentially help them as a fast, aggressive, pesky little center that can also make some plays.

“I’m not going to worry about [getting overlooked]. It’s part of life, you know it’s happened a lot? I’m not going to worry about that,” said Czarnik, who similarly won a job with the Bruins after a strong initial training camp last season. I’m just going to worry about myself and just try to do the right thing every single time and show them what I can do.

“I need to be an energy guy. There’s a lot of young talent now, you know, on the power play and everything now, so I need to try to create energy on the penalty kill and the fore-check. So that’s what my main focus is going to be.”

The energy really is the key to Czarnik’s long-term hopes with the Bruins and, consequently, the rest of the NHL. If he can play with the same skating legs, high energy and rapid pace that he’s consistently shown in preseasons, then there’s no reason to think he can’t help the Bruins. But there were far too many lulls in Czarnik’s rookie NHL season where the skating game wasn’t good enough, there wasn’t enough bite to his fore-check and there just weren’t enough plays being made on the ice.

Clearly, Czarnik is trying to change that impression in this camp with the B’s, but that could prove to be a much more difficult task with so many more quality forwards now battling for a few jobs on the roster in Boston. 

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Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

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Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while appreciating that Brad Marchand is willing to say something is “an absolute joke.” There are not enough candid players in the NHL like good, ol' No. 63.

*So FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy writes that the Bruins are “a lowly number four nowadays” in the power rankings of the big four Boston sports teams. Certainly, Danny is technically correct in saying that the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics are ahead of the Bruins in terms of the Boston pro sports zeitgeist and that they dominate the sports conversation.

But Shaughnessy points to the Bruins doing nothing to improve themselves last summer as some kind of reason behind their low position among the other Boston sports franchises, and that’s not really a factor. The problem right now is that the Bruins are extremely young and still a couple of years away from returning to true Stanley Cup contention as a result. 
Once Charlie McAvoy is a few years into his career, some of the other Bruins prospects are in the NHL for good and Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask are still at the back end of their prime, the Bruins will once again be a Cup contender that’s pushing their way back into the championship conversation that commands the attention of the Boston fan.

Would Shaughnessy have been more satisfied with the Bruins if they spent bad money on a big free-agent contract as they did with Matt Beleskey and David Backes in back-to-back years, or if they traded premium prospect Brandon Carlo for hired gun Matt Duchene? That would be the kind of “big splash” move that a bad management group would make to appease the casual fans that don’t truly understand what the B’s are going with their draft-and-development plan.

This Bruins outfit is still a playoff team while they’re building back to that Cup-worthy level. They were playing a much more exciting, entertaining brand of hockey once Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien last winter. This isn’t a lowly team unworthy of the fans’ attention, or more importantly their sports dollar. This is much more about the all-time greatness of the New England Patriots, the deserved excitement for a Celtics team that is truly going for it after being in the Bruins current “building it back up” phase for the past few years and a playoff-level Red Sox team that really has no competition in the summertime.

This isn’t about what the Bruins aren’t doing right now. This is about what the Patriots and Celtics, and to a lesser degree the Red Sox, are doing right now. It's as simple as that in a local sports landscape that’s cyclical and constantly in motion.  

*What a great Facetime hit here from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro with Jay and Dan now that they’re thankfully back to their rightful home in Canada. The technical difficulties really make the whole thing come together.  

*Congrats to Jonathan Drouin for making a commitment to the city of Montreal that goes well beyond being a player for the Canadiens.

*Lots of prayers and well-wishes to Hingham, Mass., native and New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle after his stunning cancer diagnosis. Anybody that knows the Boyle family knows how courageous they are, and how much love and support that Brian will have at a time when he’s going to need every bit of it. I also included a link to a New York Post Q&A with Boyle where he talks a bit about his father’s miraculous battle with cancer as well.   

 *John Chayka is trying to bring with him a new chapter to the history of the Arizona Coyotes, but it’s seemingly always an uphill battle there.

*Nobody should have any problems with the contract extension handed out to Mikko Koivu by the Minnesota Wild.

*For something completely different: Are we seriously living in a world where the Juggalos are marching for their rights?

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